How to Find the Best One Near Tuscaloosa Alabama
A critical first step you must take to enter the rewarding medical profession of phlebotomy is to choose the right phlebotomy school near Tuscaloosa AL. There are many training programs that are offered in your area and it may seem like a daunting task to research and compare each one. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. Quite often the two qualifications that first come to mind for prospective students are where the school is located and how much the tuition is. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. Online classes will be covered in more detail a bit later. So when comparing phlebotomy training programs, location and cost must not be the sole criteria you are looking at. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Tuscaloosa AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Tuscaloosa AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the key certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for some Tuscaloosa AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Tuscaloosa AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Tuscaloosa AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Tuscaloosa Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa Alabama.